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242                  HISTORY OF PERSIA                 CHAP
..                                     .....I
the throne must provoke inevitable jealousies, but a veri-
table descendant of Ali, whose birth would unite the
tribesmen in his service. The co-operation of seven
Turkish tribes in his support furnished proof that a new
epoch had opened. The Kizilbash, or " Red heads " *—a
name by which the Ustajlu, Shamlu, Takalu, Baharlu,
Zulkadar, Kajar, and Afshar tribes were honoured—all
being sworn upholders of the Shia religion, regarded
their sovereign as both saint and king, no incompatible
functions in the East.
After annihilating the rival " White Sheep " dynasty,
Shah Ismail annexed Baghdad and Mosul. Later on he
obtained possession of Diarbekir, and so successful was
he that in a few years he had conquered the wide-spreading
empire of the Ak-Kuyunlu. His activity was exceptional,
and we read of his being engaged in a single season in
operations ranging from Baku in the north to Shuster in
the south.
The Defeat of the Uzbeks by Shah Ismail, A.H. 916
(1510).—After securing his power in North-Western and
Western Persia, Shah Ismail marched into Khorasan,
which, as mentioned in Chapter LX., had fallen into the
hands of the Uzbegs. He sent an envoy to Shaybani
Khan requesting him to desist from his invasions, but
the contemptuous reply was,cc If Shah Ismail has suffered
any diminution of his paternal possessions, it is easy to
restore them to him in their entirety." To add point
to the message, a staff and begging bowl were sent to
the Shah. A spindle and reel were the return gifts,
signifying that words were a woman's weapons,
Shaybani Khan's army had fought a battle in A.H.
915 (1510) against the Kazaks of the Dasht-i-Kipchak,
and the Uzbeg monarch had engraved a record of what
he claimed as a victory2 in a defile to the north of
Meshed, which I have visited, and which at any rate
proves that much of Khorasan had fallen under the
Shah Ismail advanced against the enemy with great
1  These tribesmen wore a scarlet head-piece.
2  Khondemir and other historians state that the  Uzbegs were defeated in this